Adams was a one-room schoolhouse across from Parkway United Church on Clayton and Ballas Roads. The children attending this school were from the large farms in the area. The school is still standing and is now being used as a residence.
One student, Walter J. Sellenriek, recalls about 40 students in the one room, which he attended with his four brothers. He had two “Miss Conways” as teachers and a “Miss Dierberg.” He recalls that the boys helped carry in the cords of wood for the pot bellied stove and that the Superintendent of Schools, a Dr. Russell, visited two or three times a year. The children enjoyed football and baseball, tag, hide-and-seek and hopscotch. The Sellenriek boys walked a mile to school. In the next generation Mr. Sellenriek’s niece Marti, who is a former coordinator of Parkway’s reading services, was the only first grader in her class.
Conflicting dates have been given as to exactly when the first Barretts School was built. It was definitely built of brick sometime during the late 1800’s and used until 1937. Prior to this time a log structure, known as the Breen School, was located on this site.
Barretts was a one-room school built on land owned by the Barrett family. In 1937, a new school was built for $7,000 as a W.P.A. project. This school is part of the present building. All the rock came from local quarry. The school was operated under the laws for rural schools – a three man Board. In 1948, the rural school laws were revised and plans for reorganization were developed. In 1951, Barretts became part of Mason Ridge Consolidated School District #2.
The old Bellefontaine School on Conway Road was built on land given by Samuel Conway, son of Joseph Conway, with the provision that if ever the property was not needed for a school it would revert to the Conway heirs. Several generations of Hilltown and Bellefontaine residents were educated there before the merging of the school with the Parkway District.
Later, Mr. Norman Sutter wanted to buy the building. Fortunately, he was a lawyer and could unweave the web of descendants of the Conways so that he could purchase the land as well as the building. The school originally had just one room. A second room was added later, making a “T” shaped building. The pump used by the school is still there, as is the lean-to shelter in the rear where the children could get out of the rain.
Creve Coeur School
In an area called Spurville, on the corner of Craig and Lackland Roads, was the Creve Coeur School. It probably dated back to 1874. This one room school had an enrollment of 60 plus during the winter months. When the outdoor farm work was finished, all the big boys (up to 18 years of age) would attend school and take over the janitorial work during the day. There were no discipline problems even though in most cases, the teachers were not much older than the students. For example, one teacher was 19 and the pupils were 16 and 17. During the fall and winter months, the children brought potatoes and vegetables, which were used by the teachers and older girls to prepare soup for the students’ lunch. The old school was destroyed when Interstate 270 was constructed.
Fern Ridge School
In 1885, a man by the name of F. W. Wright donated land for the purpose of building a school. The following year a school was constructed and named for the donor of the land. The school burned in 1888 as the result of lightning. A new building was erected and used until 1903 at which time it was condemned and sold. A site considered to be more desirable yet close to the original was selected and a new building furnished with modern equipment was constructed in 1904 and was named Fern Ridge School.
This district encompased three common school districts which existed in 1877. In 1910 the Country Court designated these districts as: District #23, Fern Ridge: District #24, Lake; and District #27, Bellefontaine. In the summer of 1949, Fern Ridge organized a six-director annexing Lake and Bellefontaine Districts.
In 1952-53 this district conducted two schools (Fern Ridge and Stafford) as follows: Enrollment, 318; faculty, 11; tax rate, $2.10; assessed valuation, $3,594.210; cost per pupil in average daily attendance, $302.47; and assessed valuation per pupil in ADA, $14,262.
Consolidation of all these one-room schools was a slow process. It began with neighboring schools joining together.
Lake School and Lake School Museum
Lake School is located on Coeur De Ville Drive on property given to Creve Coeur by Louis Gelber. It is dated 1897 and was a one room schoolhouse prior to 1900. The Creve Coeur Historical Committee has restored this building to its original appearance: a one- room school in a nineteenth century agrarian community, painted white with green shutters. It was originally located on Olive Street Road at Hog Hollow. In 1925 it was a warehouse.
The structure was moved in 1968 to its present site. It has a new role as a children’s museum, to give urban oriented youngsters a firsthand example of school like long ago in St. Louis County. Appropriate furnishings give the interior the aura of a Winslow Homer painting.
The two room brick Lake School was built in 1925 on the south side of Olive at Hog Hollow, and is presently used as a nursery school.
Locust Grove School
The first Creve Coeur Public School was called the Hibler or Locust Grove School. It was founded in 1846. The first location of this school was on the Hogg estate. It was composed of logs.
The district was organized April 18, 1846 as District Number 3, Township 4 at a meeting of the Board of William Hogg Jr.’s home. The district records are preserved and date to 1860. Mr. Hogg’s death is recorded on January 28, 1854. Due to the fact that land where the schoolhouse was located belonged to his estate, an act of legislature was necessary to convey a perfect title. By this act, his widow, Eleanor, as guardian of the minor children, was able to exchange the original site for a new site at the center of Section 8 of the Hogg estate. The selection of the new site was voted on at a March meeting in 1857.
The new school was first used in 1858. The cost of the school was less than $1,000. The total funds were not sufficient, so an additional $110 was borrowed for desks, seats and a plank fence. The building was destroyed by fire after World War II.
There was a Manchester School on the site of the “Manchester Annex.” Built in 1885, it was a one-room frame building. In 1907, the cornerstone for the Manchester School (formerly the Manchester Annex) was laid. The original cost was $8,000. The city limits of Manchester today follow the former lines of the Manchester School District. In 1908, a tax levy of $.30 was sufficient to operate the school. The teacher’s fund was $400, the enrollment was 24 and the library was composed of 46 books. Pupils attended the same small school all through the grades and perhaps had only one or two teachers during the entire time. Classes included a little English, arithmetic, agriculture, spelling and geography. High school was tried for one year on the second floor of the Annex, but this didn’t work because there were too few pupils.
Moore was a one-room school on Weidman Road, 1000 yards from the entrance to Queeny Park. No record could be found as to when the school was started, but a family cemetery nearby dates back to 1833. There are residents still living in this area who attended this school in 1895. Although there was talk of consolidation as far back as in 1928, it wasn’t until 1947 that this one room schoolhouse was closed.
Mrs. Ellen McDowell, a former Parkway bus driver, has told of growing up at this school. There were about 60 pupils, with the older ones helping teach the younger children. Mrs. McDowell recalls that, during the depression years, the school picnics were held in Louis Schrinper’s pasture. The older boys would cook hot dogs beside the creek. Later they would board a train in Valley Park and to go Forest Park Highlands for an all day picnic. The school has been painted yellow by the present owners.
Oak Grove School
Oak Grove School was built in String Town in 1905 at Clayton and Baxter Roads. It was a small one-room rock building which housed eight grades. In the spring of 1909, the teacher wrote on the blackboard “Please vote for a two room school.” The bond issue passed, and in the summer of 1910 a two-room frame building was built. One of the earliest teachers in the school was Miss Esther McDonald, a Scottish teacher who had her students sing “The Blue Bells of Scotland” at the start of each new day. This artistic teacher would hand paint invitations for each child for all school programs.
Stafford School is located on the north side of Fee Fee Road between Olive and North Senior High School. On one old map, the Stafford School is simply called “African School.” This was the school that the blacks attended and several children walked many miles. It was one long room measuring 20 by 40 feet. Mr. Jim Fortune, who attended this school, now has grandchildren who are Parkway students. He was well known for being the strongest youngster in the area. He was also the champion during the ice skating season on Creve Coeur Lake by Jumping over the most barrels, a popular sport of that era.
Sulphur Springs School
Sulphur Springs School was a one-room frame building built about 1867 on ground given to the district by a family named Reinhardt. This was on one acre of land. Later, a basement was put in so they could have heat and a small cloakroom was added. Also, the building was divided into more rooms. This district included a large area down to the Meramec River. The students were mostly German, but did speak English. The teacher’s salary was $50 a month and she boarded with a family, paying them $16 a month. Arithmetic classes were held first thing in the morning followed by recess, language, spelling, reading, government, physiology and agriculture. There were no desk supplies provided; everything was brought from home. The students had to cross a creek to get to the school and when the creek flooded, they did not go. Instead, they stayed home and helped their parents with the farming. Miss Ida Kopp, a former student there, has been most generous in sharing information concerning the Sulphur Springs School with Parkway students.
Prior to 1886, Spoede School District provided a Branch School in a private home for pupils who lived in the Creve Coeur area. In 1886, an acre of land was acquired for $150 and a frame building was constructed for $635. John G. Weber served as the first District Clerk and the school was named in his honor. The enrollment was 63 students and the teacher’s salary was $53 per month. The building was used as the American Legion Post in 1952 and was demolished in 1969 to make room for the Reuben-Coco complex on Olive.
In 1909, a two-room brick school was built. Around this time, with an enrollment of less than 100, a two-year high school program was added and continued until 1916. The high school program was eliminated, and pupils had to go by bus to Clayton or Eureka High Schools. In 1910, the County Court designated this District #29 Weber. On April 1, 1952 it was organized as a six-director district and called School District of Weber. In 1952-53 the district conducted one school: Enrollment, 93; faculty, 4; tax rate, $2,50; attendance, $344.20; and assessed valuation per pupil in ADA, $17,904.
* Taken primarily from the Environmental Ecological Education (EEE) Project, Unit on The Changing Scene – A Short History of the Parkway Area. Revised June 1976.